The international anti-terrorist exercise Atlantic Blue seems to be back on again, according to the Home Office, despite the rumour in December 2004 that the UK part of the exercise was to be cancelled.
The individual exercises are known as "Atlantic Blue" in the UK, "TopOff3" ("Top Officials") in the USA and "Triple Play" in Caanada have
"been designed to test simultaneous responses to internationally linked terrorist incidents."
However, unlike the USA end of the exercise, where there will be tens of thousands of security and emergency service people involved, the UK end is much more modest:
"There will be no visible ‘on the ground’ activity within the UK exercise, allowing players to focus at a strategic level on communication issues across international borders."
Were the planned dates of the week of the 4th to the 8th of April problematic for the UK Government in pre- General Election Announcement and Royal Wedding mode ?
Can it be that there are not enough resources for the UK to run a realistic "on the ground" counter terrorist exercise ?
Are the Civil Service digging their heels in, so as not to be seen to be contrbuting to the Nu Labour "Climate of Fear" spin and disinfomation before a General Election where National Security has been reduced to a political ping pong ball ?
Perhaps that is why "Atlantic Blue" seems to have been downgraded to an unrealistic Metropolitan Police "wargame", rather than anything on the scale of the previous USA TopOff2 exercise, or even the inadequate Civil Defence "exercises" conducted at the Bank Tube Station in London and at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, which were notable for the absence of members of the general public.